According to those familiar with the situation, the Centre will begin regular international flights on December 15, with restricted services in 14 countries. The United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and Singapore are among the countries on the list of “at-risk” countries that will not see a complete resumption of international flights, according to sources.
In view of the Covid situation around the world, particularly the advent of new variations, the decision was made in consultation with the health ministry. South Africa confirmed a new form of Coronavirus on Thursday, which is thought to be more transmissible and vaccine-resistant. Apart from South Africa, the variation has been recorded in Botswana and Hong Kong. India has decided not to resume regular foreign flights to Botswana and South Africa.
Officials added that India has a travel bubble with some of the nations on the list that allows a set number of flights per week, which will continue in a new format. At-risk nations that have an air bubble agreement with India will see 75 percent of pre-Covid activities resumed, while at-risk countries that do not have an air bubble agreement with India will see 50 percent of pre-Covid operations resumed.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, regular international flight operations were halted in March 2020. Vande Bharat flights were launched by the civil aviation ministry to transport Indians who were stranded in foreign countries due to the pandemic. Following the Vande Bharat flights, the ministry signed air bubble agreements with a number of countries, allowing for international travel.
With the number of Covid cases continuously declining and vaccine coverage in the country increasing, the Centre was considering loosening international travel restrictions. Civil aviation secretary Rajiv Bansal announced two days ago that the ministry is working toward enabling international passenger flights by the end of the year.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, the minister of civil aviation, recently expressed the ministry’s desire to restart normal international travel operations. “We’re assessing the procedure.” We’re returning to normalcy. At an industry meeting, Scindia said, “First, we authorised 100 percent passenger capacity on our domestic planes, and now we’re allowing in-flight meals on those flights.”
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